american/ Christmas/ Dinner/ Salad/ Side dish/ Thanksgiving/ vegetarian dinner

Roasted butternut squash with cranberries, rosemary, pecans, and feta

18 September 2020

This is the most delicious roasted butternut squash recipe you could make. It makes an amazing festive side dish or just a weeknight dinner. There’s butternut squash, seasoned with fresh rosemary and ground cinnamon, roasted to perfection – with caramelized golden edges. Then there are sweet and tart dried cranberries, crunchy fragrant toasted pecans, and salty flavorful feta cheese. Every time I’m making this dish I just can’t get away from the baking tray, snacking on these golden squash pieces until they are almost gone. Give it a try!

Roasted butternut squash with cranberries, rosemary, pecans, and feta in a blue bowl
A close up picture of roasted butternut squash with cranberries, rosemary, pecans, and feta on a black baking tray.

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash is perfect for roasting – it’s moist and sweet. Alternatively, you could use other types of winter squash or pumpkin, it will also work but I prefer most the butternut squash with this recipe. Pumpkin is a little less sweet and more dry, which makes it perfect for baking recipes (where you need a pumpkin puree).
  • Rosemary – it’s the perfect herb to pair with butternut squash. Alternatively, you could use dried rosemary, although I’m not a fan of this herb in dried form as I find it to be often too sharp and it’s just not fragrant enough. You could also pair the winter squash with thyme but I would sprinkle it after roasting it, as it is more delicate.
  • Cranberries – it’s also possible to use fresh cranberries, bake them with the squash. They are more tart than dried cranberries so you may need to add more honey to the dish. I prefer dried cranberries much more with this recipe.
  • Feta cheese can be substituted with goat cheese.
  • Pecans can be substituted with walnuts.
ingredients needed to prepare roasted butternut squash with cranberries, rosemary, pecans, and feta

How to make it step by step:

Start with peeling and cutting the butternut squash into cubes:

Cutting off the end of the butternut squash. Peeling the butternut squash.

STEP 1: Lay the butternut squash horizontally on a chopping board and cut off both of its ends.

STEP 2: Now you can place the squash vertically on a chopping board and use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash.

Scooping out the seeds form butternut squash. Cutting butternut squash into cubes.

STEP 3: Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.

STEP 4: Place one half of the squash, cut-side down, on the chopping board and cut into 3/4-inch (2cm) slices, then cut the slices into cubes. The butternut squash is ready to be roasted!

Roast the butternut squash:

Roasted butternut squash in a black baking sheet.

STEP 5: Place the squash pieces on a large baking tray. Toss them with chopped rosemary, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

STEP 6: Roast the squash for 20 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown, and the squash is soft.

The most important tips for perfectly roasted butternut squash:

  • Roast the squash at high temperature – it will brown better.
  • Don’t overcrowd the squash – it will steam and be pale instead of having those beautiful golden brown caramelized edges (= that’s very all the flavor is!). I roasted my squash in two batches.
  • Make sure there’s enough oil on the tray so the squash won’t stick to it. I’m not using parchment paper, I find the squash browns better when put directly on the baking sheet.
  • Make sure your squash pieces are almost of the same size – they will roast more evenly.
  • Use a black baking sheet, if possible, and avoid light-colored trays. I can’t explain this really, but it’s just a fact, that the squash (and also other vegetables, like roasted cauliflower or even cookies!) brown better on a black pan.
  • If your squash is still a little too pale but already soft you can turn on the fan / increase the temperature to the highest setting for a couple of minutes / or place the baking sheet under the broiler for a minute or two to get those caramelized delicious edges.
  • The baking time is just an estimate! It may vary, depending on the oven (every oven bakes a little different), so make sure to keep an eye on your dish and adjust the baking time if necessary. You want a beautifully browned squash, not a burned squash!
Lemon juice and honey are being poured over roasted butternut squash with pecans.

STEP 7: Using a sharp, thin spatula, flip the squash pieces on the other side. Now add the pecans to the tray and roast for another 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on the pecans at the end of the baking time, they can easily burn! You want them toasted – they should be fragrant and just lightly browned (but not burned).

STEP 8: Add the cranberries to the tray and lemon juice stirred with honey. Toss to coat. Then you can crumble the feta cheese over and season the dish with more salt if necessary. If you like you could add the feta cheese along with the pecans, as warm feta cheese is also delicious. I kind of couldn’t decide which way is better (it’s delicious both ways!).

It’s ready, enjoy!

Roasted butternut squash with cranberries, rosemary, pecans, and feta on a black baking tray

Storage / how to make it ahead:

How to store: Store this dish in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in a tighly-closed container or in a bowl wrapped with plastic foil.

How to reheat: This dish reheats very well! You could do that in a microwave or in an oven. Just pop all the ingredients into a baking sheet (this time the squash can be crowded) and warm up in an oven preheated to 350°F/180°C for about 5-10 minutes or until warm. I must admit that this dish really tastes best freshly roasted because the edges of the squash pieces are slightly crunchy, but it doesn’t make that much of a difference. In terms of flavor, this dish is really delicious reheated.

How to make it ahead: if you’re planing to make this dish ahead, especially for the holidays, I would recommend roasting the squash with the pecans, then reheat and combine with honey, lemon juice, cranberries, and feta cheese just before serving. I feel like this dish is less dry prepared this way, instead of just reheating the whole serving, like described above. The difference is not that noticeable, though!

FAQ:

Do you have to peel a butternut squash before roasting?

Yes, you have to peel the butternut squash before roasting it. Its peel is too thick and unpleasant to eat. You could also roast the squash with the peel on and then cut it into cubes but you won’t get those delicious caramelized edges, which make this dish so amazing.

Can you eat the seeds of butternut squash?

Yes, they are edible. You can also roast them with some spices. This is a helpful article, with all the tips about eating butternut squash seeds.

Can you eat the peel of a butternut squash?

The skin is edible but just unpleasant to eat, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

How do you peel a butternut squash without a peeler?

You can prick the squash a couple of times with a fork then microwave for 5 minutes. Scrape the skin with a spoon. Microwave for 1 minute to make the skin easier to peel with a peeler.

What color is ripe butternut squash?

Ripe squash should be dark beige in color.

What to serve with roasted butternut squash:

  • Roast chicken, roast duck, or roast turkey, ham or prime rib are a perfect choice!
  • Simple baked chicken breast.
  • For a quick and easy weeknight dinner I like to serve it with simply, with just sunny side-up eggs (it’s a really delicious dinner).

Other butternut squash recipes you may like:

Roasted butternut squash with cranberries, rosemary, pecans, and feta

This is the most delicious roasted butternut squash recipe you could make. It makes an amazing festive side dish or just a weeknight dinner.
Roasted butternut squash with cranberries, pecans, rosemary and feta cheese in a blue bowl.
Print Recipe
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 430kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 4.4 lbs (2kg) butternut squash 3.5 lbs (1.6kg) without skin and seeds, which is about 9 cups cubed squash
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup (80g) pecans
  • 1/2 cup (75g) dried cranberries
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3.5 oz (100g) feta cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7, no fan (if you have a convection oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Cut off the both ends of the butternut squash, place it vertically on a chopping board and peel the squash. Next, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds using a spoon and cut into 3/4-inch (2cm) cubes.
  • Add the butternut squash cubes onto a baking tray and toss with olive oil, cinnamon, and chopped rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Make sure that the squash is not crowded on the baking sheet, otherwise it won’t be able to brown properly – it will just steam. I roasted my squash in two batches.
  • Roast for about 20 minutes or until the squash is golden brown at the bottom and soft.
  • Using a thin metal spatula, flip the squash pieces on the other side and add the pecans.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the pecans are toasted (light brown). Keep an eye on the pecans at the end of the baking time as they can easily burn.
  • Take the baking sheet out of the oven, transfer the squash and pecans into a bowl.
  • Stir the lemon juice with honey and add to the squash along with the cranberries and crumbled feta cheese. Toss everything together, season with salt if necessary.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Ingredient notes:
    • You can use pumpkin instead of butternut squash but I prefer it much more with butternut squash (it’s more moist and sweet, pumpkin is a bit drier and pumpkin puree is perfect for baking).
    • Feta cheese can be substituted with goat cheese.
    • Pecans can be substituted with walnuts.
  • The most important tips for perfectly roasted butternut squash:
    • Roast the squash at high temperature – it will brown better.
    • Don’t overcrowd the squash – it will steam and be pale instead of having those beautiful golden brown caramelized edges (= that’s very all the flavor is!).
    • Make sure there’s enough oil on the tray so the squash won’t stick to it. I’m not using parchment paper, I find the squash browns better when put directly on the baking sheet.
    • Make sure your squash pieces are almost of the same size – they will roast more evenly.
    • Use a black baking sheet, if possible, and avoid light-colored trays.
    • If your squash is still a little too pale but already soft you can turn on the fan / increase the temperature to the highest setting for a couple of minutes / or place the baking sheet under the broiler for a minute or two to get those caramelized delicious edges.
    • The baking time is just an estimate! It may vary, depending on the oven (every oven bakes a little different), so make sure to keep an eye on your dish and adjust the baking time if necessary. You want a beautifully browned squash, not a burned squash!
  • Storage / make ahead tips:
    • How to store: Store this dish in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in a tighly-closed container or in a bowl wrapped with plastic foil.
    • How to reheat: This dish reheats very well! You could do that in a microwave or in an oven. Just pop all the ingredients into a baking sheet (this time the squash can be crowded) and warm up in an oven preheated to 350°F/180°C for about 5-10 minutes or until warm.
    • How to make it ahead: if you’re planing to make this dish ahead, especially for the holidays, I would recommend roasting the squash with the pecans, then reheat and combine with honey, lemon juice, cranberries, and feta cheese just before serving.
  • Calories = 1/6 of the recipe (1 serving). This is only an estimate!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword roasted butternut squash, roasted butternut squash side dish, roasted butternut squash with cranberries, roasted butternut squash with rosemary

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